Sunday, December 15, 2013

Complete sets: 1995 Topps (Series II)

In what should likely be my final complete set purchase of 2013 (and for a while, for that matter), I scored a full set of 1995 Topps baseball on eBay for $4.25 and another $10 shipping, which excited me since I hadn't seen sets anywhere near this cheap.  I actually already had Series I and got this just for the second, which I never got around to chasing after I somehow ended up with the former.  No problem, now I have an extra Series I set for trade--anybody want it?

'95 flagship Series II includes a pretty good group of stars, not to mention four current HOFers:
The photography on the Griffey, Gwynn, and Ripken issues is fantastic, featuring three of the game's best hitters in mid-swing.  Bagwell, Piazza, and Jones include some great posed close-ups.  In the center square position is one of the Kirby Puckett-est Kirby Puckett cards you'll ever see.  Rickey looks like he's heading home again, which he did a mind-boggling 2295 times in his career, good for the career MLB record!  And finally, Nomar makes his flagship set debut after appearing in '92 Traded, '93 Stadium Club Murphy, and '94 Stadium Club Draft.

And of course I wouldn't do a post like this without including the Tigers from the set:
In any other year, Boever and Moore would have seemed like scrubs, but the former won 9 games with 3 saves out of the 'pen while the latter led Detroit starters with 11 wins on an awful team in a strike-shortened '94.  Tram had a bit of a down year but was still ok, and '84 World Series teammate Gibson, who returned to Motown the previous year, chipped in 23 homers as a DH.  Gaspar, Bergman, and Penn never amounted to a damn thing, with Gaspar a typical waste of a 90s first-round pick.  Finally, Phillips and Tettleton continued to be two of my favorite Tigers journeymen.

Because the set is relatively small at 264 cards (especially compared to Series I's count at 396), I didn't dig up as many cool photos, but here's a few I did like:
Walker and Alomar each get a very cool posed shot, with Walker bringing to mind the Guerrero in yesterday's post--maybe that card was an homage to Vlad's predecessor?  Meanwhile, Yankee 2B Pat Kelly catches some mad air flying above sliding future Tiger Dean Palmer!

And again I'm including a card back for completeness:
Junior was a tough out in Little League!  Topps' gimmick this year was "Diamond Vision," which I could take or leave, but I think in general Topps did a nice job overall with the backs.

And finally, I ended up with just one Michigan Baseball PC card again, this time one of pitcher Steve Ontiveros, who was back for his second tour of duty with Oakland:

With the addition of this set I now own a complete run of Topps' flagship offerings from 1994-2010, a streak I'm fairly proud of!  While I have a small handful of additional half-completed sets (e.g., only one series), I'm not necessarily motivated to chase those, and will instead devote time and money towards completing the minuscule baseball wantlist that remains!

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